How B cells capture, process and present antigens: a crucial role for cell polarity

Nat Rev Immunol. 2013 Jul;13(7):475-86. doi: 10.1038/nri3469.


B cells are key components of the adaptive immune response. Their differentiation into either specific memory B cells or antibody-secreting plasma cells is a consequence of activation steps that involve the processing and presentation of antigens. The engagement of B cell receptors by surface-tethered antigens leads to the formation of an immunological synapse that coordinates cell signalling events and that promotes antigen uptake for presentation on MHC class II molecules. In this Review, we discuss membrane trafficking and the associated molecular mechanisms that are involved in antigen extraction and processing at the B cell synapse, and we highlight how B cells use cell polarity to coordinate the complex events that ultimately lead to efficient humoral responses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigen Presentation / immunology*
  • B-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Cell Polarity / immunology*
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class II / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunological Synapses / immunology
  • Lymphocyte Activation / immunology
  • Receptors, Antigen, B-Cell / immunology*


  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class II
  • Receptors, Antigen, B-Cell